Lucy Vickery

Spring villanelle

Text settings
Comments

In Competition No. 3092 you were invited to submit a spring villanelle. The villanelle lends itself to themes of loss and time passing, but the somewhat gloomy mood of the entry was offset by how well you rose to the form’s technical challenges. Congratulations all round, but especially to unlucky losers Noah Heyl, R.M. Goddard, Philip Roe, and Jasper and Julia Griffin. The winners earn £30 each.

A green haze hints that spring might soon appear,

The trees come into leaf, unhurried, slow,

Like Brexit, always coming, never here.

The sky grows blue, the grey begins to clear

And as the flowers’ colours start to show,

A green haze hints that spring might soon appear.

Too long we’ve suffered February’s drear

With March and April still in winter’s tow

Like Brexit, always coming, never here.

And where is May with all her promised cheer?

Her blossoms still stay tightly closed, although

A green haze hints that spring might soon appear.

It hovers close, a presence almost near,

A seed in frozen soil that’s loath to grow

Like Brexit, always coming, never here.

Just like an engine stuck in bottom gear

That inches forwards caught in winter’s snow,

A green haze hints that spring might soon appear

Like Brexit, always coming, never here.

Alan Millard

The sun unpeels. It’s time to mind the mop,

To sluice the floors, to spruce up every room.

Don’t let the season catch you on the hop:

You have the power of a turboprop,

With dust to shift, and carpets to exhume —

The sun unpeels. It’s time to mind. The mop

Investigates each nook. You dunk and slop,

Until forgotten windows are in bloom.

Don’t let the season catch you on the hop.

Your feather duster — wield it like a crop.

It’s warm outside, though never ask for whom

The sun unpeels. It’s time to mind the mop,

To fill the vacuum speedily, chop-chop,

To shift the bristles quick, to groom the gloom.

Don’t let the season catch you on the hop:

Wipe off each table-top, and do not stop —

Catch every mote, and send it to its doom:

The sun unpeels, it’s time to. Mind the mop!

Don’t let the season catch you on the hop!

Bill Greenwell

I am not fooled by offerings you bring.

Death’s concubine, deceit is in your smile.

Too old am I to celebrate a spring.

Floral displays and nestlings that take wing

Are mere distractions for a little while.

I am not fooled by offerings you bring.

Your verdure may invite a lark to sing;

What lies beyond the symphony is vile.

Too old am I to celebrate a spring.

Inside your merriment you hide a sting;

You sell regret in most majestic style.

I am not fooled by offerings you bring.

Let girls and boys attend your gathering;

You hurt old hearts with garnishing and guile.

Too old am I to celebrate a spring.

Winter is honest, showing everything

For what it is in death’s dark domicile.

I am not fooled by offerings you bring.

Too old am I to celebrate a spring.

Frank McDonald

Write no paean to primavera

For our future’s looking stark,

Brexit’s looming ever nearer.

Sing of springtime with Tom Lehrer,

Pigeons poisoned in the park,

But write no paean to primavera.

Clocks go forward, making clearer

That we’re fumbling in the dark,

As Brexit’s looming ever nearer.

As your household bill gets dearer

Scrimp and save and live on quark;

Write no paean to primavera.

Pray you’ll never need a carer,

There’ll be none when we embark

On Brexit — looming ever nearer.

As we face a brand new era

Or a briefly burning spark,

Write no paean to primavera,

Brexit’s looming ever nearer.

Sylvia Fairley

Spring comes too early in our Autumn years,

The passage of the seasons is too fast,

Spring light illuminates our ageing fears.

So much neglected, so many arrears.

Time to amend it all is rushing past.

Spring comes too early in our Autumn years.

The brightness of the Spring sun burns and sears

Old eyes. Things undone stand in stark contrast.

Spring light illuminates our ageing fears.

How conscious are we of all our dead dears!

How long a shadow does the Spring sun cast!

Spring comes too early in our Autumn years.

How soon before the Autumn scythe appears?

Of course, we always knew things do not last.

Spring light illuminates our ageing fears.

What is the point of wasting any tears?

Can we not still enjoy Spring’s rich repast?

Spring comes too early in the Autumn years,

Spring light illuminates our ageing fears.

Brian Murdoch

No. 3095: praise be

You are invited to submit an elegy by a poet on another poet (please specify). Please email (wherever possible) entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 17 April.